Friday, February 29, 2008

Withstand - Light of a New Day... (1996)

I wanna see this whole place movin'. Lets tear this place down! Allright? Go!


Happy Friday. Try not to hurt people when listening to this. Withstand is Albany's answer to Life of Agony, Leeway & Merauder. In fact, screw everybody else. Its the pain that lets us know we're alive. I dare you not to move.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Guyver One - 7"

This is exactly the cheesy kind of shit I write sometimes... I hope you all at least get a laugh out of it once in a while...

"Super frantic early screamo from none other than San Diego. Very similar to Swing Kids, Antioch Arrow, Clikatat Ikatowi and Heroin (theres gotta be something in the water there). The funny thing about this record is the Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang records playing in the background of the recording... Very similar to the Indian Summer song Angry Son, with the Bessie Smith record playing... Funny, and then the band cuts your entrails out with a swift razor sharp blast and youre not laughing anymore.... until the next break when you can hear more old school hip-hop. Yay."

I mean, really... 5th grade writing level. haha!! Okay. I have yet to see the artwork for this 7" anywhere and it has always been one of my favorites. So I finally scanned it myself (on my new work scanner!) and am sharing it all with you. Click and view art for 700px artwork (700pixels?!?!? Yes. I know. Outta control). Ive included a link to the album, which may or may not have the hip-hop snippets in between the songs. If it does not (because there is a copy floating out there sans hip-hop samples) then let me know, and I will up my copy which does contain said samples by the Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash.

And while youre at it, please stop by Hardcore For Nerds and check out his blurb on the band and a link to their full length, which is worth hearing, but just okay when compared to the 7".

Now for some art, which regrettably is missing the awesome acetate insert with red printing. I had it hanging on various walls since 1995 and have long since lost it. It was another Guyver One pic (the comic) and was bookmark sized.

Front Cover

Back Cover

Inside Cover 1

Inside Cover 2

Insert Side 1

Insert Side 2 w/ Lyrics

7" Sleeve and Record

Guyver One 7" (1995 - Inchworm Records)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Funeral Diner is Dead...

This Truly Is God's Country - Up to this point the story has been played out, sometimes failing, and sometimes in time. But always present and always feeling just this close to breaking. There was nowhere else to go and nowhere would have been right. Hiding in corners, hoping for curtains or shadows to hide behind and change the colors of feeling. Building something out of nothing again. A wall, a door, a pillar, and another place to live and change. Changing again, transparent and out of focus, but with the best intentions always in mind. But always this close to breaking and the running away never helps. And the holes that you dig are always deeper, though better informed. (As much as it hurts) they were right when they said, "change is the only constant." So i'll keep this salt in my wound. So i can keep that in mind.

Funeral Diner were one of the best current hardcore bands pushing and building on a style that is already over a decade old. Trebly guitars, throat shredding screams, beautiful drumming and powerful bass surges are here in spades. Not unlike Portraits Of Past, with whom they shared a member and a geographic location, Funeral Diner went leaps and bounds towards combining frantic hardcore with long subdued passages of instrumental rock. Call it Americas answer to Envy's answer to America, call it post-hardcore, call it screamo, it doesnt matter. Funeral Diner is dead. Whats left is all that matters now...

This was released as a Euro Tour CD and contains tracks from a variety of places, including a compilation, a 4 way split and splits with Dead City, Raein, Evylock and Welcome the Plague Year. The good thing about this compilation is the improved recording quality of all the tracks involved. If you like this and need more, I strongly urge you to pick up their more current stuff, The Underdark and Ampere split, as well as the Doors open EP. Sometime soon I will put up the Three Sides Dead comp which covers their early career.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Modest Mouse - Space Travel is Boring

Before you get all juiced up and think this is a new Modest Mouse record it must be told that this is just a mix of songs that I think any fan, old or new, should have in their collection. The artwork is mine and the whole package is completely unofficial. As it is, mixes are relative, and I've chosen songs that fit smooth in the various cracks and crevices of my life. Modest Mouse is the caulk that keeps your shower from leaking onto your downstairs neighbors (or floods your basement if you are house-bound).

In light of recent events I feel that there is a large back catalog of Modest Mouse albums that definitely need to be heard on a wider scale. While a part of me is overwhelmed at the success of Modest Mouses past two albums I also cant help but feel that they are their two least successful albums. Good News has bold charm hidden throughout its runtime, but We Were Dead barely even leaves a blip on my radar. As sad as this is for anyone who has watched a favorite band pass their prime I hope we all remember why we liked a band so much in the first place. Modest Mouses albums, all of them, leading up to Good News, were some of finest indie rock albums ever created. They all have their pitfalls, "experiments" if you may, but their undeniable tunefulness comes shining through even when Issacs voice is lisping and cracking or the whammy bar is bending notes just a little too far. The sloppy drums, the flat toned bass, something about this lo-fi slackerness reeks of the same charm as Slanted and Enchanted. And I dont mean sloppy or under produced in any lazy, negative way. This is dripping blues. This is indie rock Bob Dylan. This is another indie rock brick in the wall. Bring into the mix the beer soaked laments of Issac and the moody weather patterns of the Pacific Northwest and you have what I consider a full package. Everything from their album cover art to the song titles to the lyrics and their delivery. From Eric Judys lilting bass to Jeremiah Greens ramshackle drumming and of course Issacs spacey whammy bar theatrics - every single thing gels into a perfect snapshot. Have I given this enough love yet? Only repeated listens can achieve that status.

This mix, which I created a ways back for a friend and then recreated for you, is culled from various EPs and studio sessions from their career. This idea is similar to their 7" comp Building Nothing Out of Something, but with no repeats. Tracks can be found on the Interstate 8 EP, Sad Sappy Sucker, tracks from the Moon and Antarctica period (released as Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks) and The Fruit that Ate Itself.

I hope that some of you who recently found love for Modest Mouse can glean a lot from this compiliation. I also hope that old fans can find a new gem or two that they may not have heard, though if you're a freak like me you probably already have all of this stuff sequestered away in a special place. And trust me on this one, I jam this mix alot, it functions as a great album. It also features two of their greatest songs, Night on the Sun and Edit the Sad Parts.

(Please right click and view artwork to get a larger format for your iTunes and iPods and feel free to spread this mix around)

Modest Mouse - Space Travel is Boring

1. Night On The Sun (7:39)
2. Birds Vs Worms (2:13)
3. The Waydown (2:30)
4. Edit The Sad Parts (7:03)
5. You're The Good Things (3:34)
6. Sunspots In The House Of The Late Scapegoat (2:43)
7. Four Fingered Fisherman (2:28)
8. So Much Beauty In Dirt (1:24)
9. Here It Comes (3:10)
10. Secret Agent X-9 (1:13)
11. Karma's Payment (3:29)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best of... (what year was it again?)

2007!!! Damn that seems like a long time ago.

Well, I suppose it's 2008 now. And before I get into what made me super frothing wet in 2007 I want to tell you that 2008 is already shaping up to be a contender. New sludginess from 5ive and Lento. Stoner indie pop gems from Black Mountain. And A Silver Mount Zions ab-soul-ute best album yet. Surely people will balk at such an idea. But its okay, you just don't know it yet. New Boris albums, new stuff from Ampere, supposedly.

Also, an addendum slash correction. Theres an album on this list that I now feel differently about. Radioheads In Rainbows. Its good. Don't get me wrong. But I've since heard about 3 or 4 albums that easily surpass Radiohead's latest effort. I had already made the mixes and I didnt feel like going back and changing them, so they suffice for what they are; a glimpse of some of my favorite albums from '07.

Please be aware that A) I didnt hear everything that was released this year, as is evidenced by my revocation of Radiohead on the list. B) My list is not numerically based for any other reason than for me to keep a count. With that said, what's at the top of the list is better than what's at the bottom, but what's at 5 isn't necessarily worse than what's at 1. and 3) or C) I listened to alot of music this year that wasnt from this decade. And with that said, the Shotmaker / Max Colby split is still better than almost anything on this blog. and 13 songs and Blood Sweat and No Tears basically run circles around the best this year has to offer.... ahh. sweet digression.

Here is the list.

1. Caspian - The Four Trees

Post-Rockish, with a bit more rock than post. This is a welcome idea.

Greatness, greatness, greatness. You had to have come across this if you listen to good music. Uplifting, awakening and shimmering with inner life, this band is the goods. They record well and they kill live. Walls of sound man, walls of sound.

2. Baroness - The Red Album

Progressive Sludge Metal Sabbath Maiden Metal Freakout Meltdown Metal.

Did I mention this shit is metal? Im talking galloping horses, riders of the apocalypse metal, but no, no, no, not power metal. They dont wield swords, they wield giant clubs of doom leaving trails of swirling smoke eddies. This album grew like wildfire on me and I still find new things to like about. A solid album and another killer live show.

3. Iron & Wine - The Shepherds Dog

Yeah, so what, I listen to folk music. I wear pink too. Real men wear pink

Sam Beams best album. The orchestration gives it a lush feel and the variety of song structures keeps the album from falling into the self exiled murk that so much folk falls into. Sams voice is incredible and his words truly ring with heart-string- pulling emotion. You want to talk "emo". Yeah, what the fuck does that word even mean? This is the most emotional record I've heard in years. Perfect summertime drives upstate with this in the deck.

4. Grails - Burning Off The Impurities

Mind bending psychedelic rock.

I went to see this band twice last year, and each time was different, and they practically ruined live shows for me. If hardcore didn't exist, Grails would've officially been one of the best live shows I've seen. Ever. Both times. The eastern feel of these songs is not hokey in anyway and goes a long way to legitimizing these songs as mantras for spiritual understanding. Yeah, that sounded like some new-age shit. Grails are not new-age. They are incredible-age.

5. Explosions In the Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone

Do you really not know already? Instrumental rock of the highest caliber.

Really, I am disappointed at the lack of love this album had gotten last year. It seemed to be universally slagged as their weakest effort. And while I cant think of any way to reach higher than Moon Is Down or With Tired Eyes, this is still a fantastic album and got voted out over a bunch of bands that aped their style. I'm not naming names, but as a long time fan of this band, it may just be my loyalty, but I really think this album is just beautiful.

6. Bongripper - Hippie Killer

Massive psychedelic space rock doom sludge mind fuck.

I mean, come on. How can you go wrong with something with that title? Really, this album is suffocatingly heavy and light as air at the same time. Where did Isis go wrong? This is where its at these days. Ripping bongs, killing hippies and hailing Satan.

7. Les Savy Fav - Lets Stay Friends

Post-punk, shake dat azz, hug your hairy fat friends and sweat the hate out.


Damn... best album. By far. This album just does not stop. They did everything right (okay, almost everything - Comes & Goes is just plain forgettable, sorry guys)

8. Brainworms - Which is Worse

Fuck you, this is punk.

Brainworms officially owned with the best show of all last year. I haven't moved like that since 1997 at the VOD OKD (Vision of Disorder / One King Down) show at the QE2 in Albany (or was it 96?). Brainworms remind me exactly why I liked punk in the first place.

9. Rosetta - Wake/Lift

Astral Sludge. New genre? I think not. Dont go there.

I hate to say it again. But where, oh where, did Isis go wrong?
Check out Rosetta rewriting the books on atmospheric sludge. The ambiance lurking behind every roar is the subtlety that makes this album shine. Not to mention repetitive, ever cycling riffs, propelling past the stratosphere with little regard for gravity's tenacious hold. And the opening song seems like sludgier older brother to the next number on the list...

10. Cease Upon the Capitol - s/t EP

Astral Hardcore. Haha... come on you gotta laugh. If some journalist ever uses that as a descriptor then we're all going to hell

CUTC completely rocked me with this ep. I cant say I'm a huge fan of their prior stuff. I mean, its got its moments, but this is an ultimate blend of frantic hardcore craziness with throat shredding vocals and post-rock moodiness that isn't too unlike the Rosetta album above. In fact, if you slowed down this album or sped up the Rosetta album then they might sound quite similar. But as it is, this makes a good breakneck version of some really spacey guitar work.

11. Kevin Drew - Spirit if...

Indie rock sweetness.

If you like Broken Social Scene (and I do very much) then its pretty much a given that you'll like Kevin Drew. After all, he sings a good portion of the male verses of that bands work. His solo album is a bit more reflective but still using that same trashy endearing manner of speaking. Lines like "too beautiful to fuck" somehow drips with sweetness. In a fucked up world of self obsession, theres something very real about his approach. Dirty enough to stir you up, but sweet enough to keep you listening.

12. Meneguar - Strangers in Our House

Danceable post-punk goodness

I hate to be so simple, but its getting really late, and I typed everything below this before getting back here to number 12. So no offense to you Meneguar, oh ye of strange name. There are so many hooks on this record its hard to pick a favorite, but Scrape and Pull keeps sticking out to me, with herky jerky guitar leads that arent too far removed from their city mates Les Savy Fav. I also hear a little bit of Modest Mouses whammy bar moments and some of Q and Not U's propulsive bass work. All together an infectious record.

13. Grinderman - Grinderman

Dirty trash rock and crooner ballads

It's Nick Cave back at his dirtiest in years. Cave tends to be pretty divisive among underground music fans and I'll admit, it took me a long time to come around to appreciating him. My ex girlfriend loved him in high school and I just thought he was some artsy fartsy goth freak. I was for more concerned with Drive Like Jehu. But years later (and a few relationships later) I find myself strangely drawn to his open heart surgery delivery. I feel like I get him now, and its a treat to be this late to the party and still get to experience Nick doing what he does best. His backing band is amazing too. For this line up its Bad Seeds all the way. Martin Casey, Warren Ellis and Jim Sclavunos (who played drums for Sonic Youth for a short time) bring the hurtin and give Nick room to delightfully damage ears with his squealing guitar attacks.

14. Kidcrash - Jokes

Chaotically precise hardcore with proggy and post-rock flavor.

Kidcrash was another hardcore band that just blew minds this year. Rehashing some of their demo songs from last year and actually ratcheting up the tension by at least double, Kidcrash emerge with an incredibly complex far reaching schematic for future hardcore generations.

15. Mammatus - The Coast Explodes

Psychedelic Stoner Rock

Pierce the darkness, man, pierce it dude. Right on.

16. Souvaris - A Hat

Post-rock, math rock, ambient

Another album that just wouldnt leave my iPod. I think Nobody Is Fine and Everybody Needs a Drink is one of the best songs of the post-rock genre. I did a review a little while back describing the various passages, and while I wont recount that right here, I will say that I rarely pick apart songs and discuss their various movements. That song makes me feel happy and sad at the same time and it makes me feel completely okay with that duality.

17. Sea and Cake - Everybody

Saccharine pop goodness

Honestly, this is so poppy and so sunshiney bright in its delivery that it seems very far off from the tense and moody stuff I get my kicks from. But I seriously am in love with this band. This album makes their last album forgivable and also houses some of their best material. As and album I would have to rank this right after Oui. Crisp, clear and crystalline, not unlike the photograph on the cover. You may want to save these guys for summer. Who knows, maybe you'll meet some chicks, and then scare them away trying to explain what the C in Cake means..

18. Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs

More indie pop goodness

Considering that Three Mile Pilot is one of my most favorite bands, it should come as no suprise that I am a huge Pinback fan. Sure, everyone talks about Rob Crowe this and Rob Crowe that, and dont get me wrong, hes incredible, but what about Zach Smith aka Armisted Burwell Smith IV? I feel he often gets overlooked, but hes a giant reason why Pinback is so good. His basslines are some of the most memorable basslines in history. Together with Crowe they create some of the most pointilistic indie rock ever. Like stippled drawings of daily life with ever present darkness lurking in the background.

19. Radiohead - In Rainbows


Yeah, I was pretty psyched about this when it came out. I mean, its a new Radiohead record. But once my excitement wore off I didnt return to this place. I am sure I will visit it again and find delight. 15 Step is a great song and Weird Fishes/Arpeggi is a great song (or songs) but I think hype actually got the best of me on this one. OK Computer this is not, and I even think Hail to the Thief is stronger than this. For 5 more bands that couldve filled this slot, see the below section "What Shouldve Made This List". Ive left this as is for posterities sake, cuz as off January 1st I was happy with this list.

20. Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment

Massive Tribal Progressive Sludge

This is one hell of a suffocating record. Spaced out and tribal drumming lurches and launches into a swirling magma pit of psyched out sludge. Great vocals on this one. The singer actually sings which is a nice change from the typical howling known well to this genres fans. The drums are seriously fierce. They stick out, a roiling beacon on a scorched landscape, leading the listener futher into the flames. Its actually nice to take the headphones off after listening to this and realizing that the world still has color and life in it. Then you put the headphones back on and descend the ladder once again.


So, with that all said and done. I'd like to present these two mixes I made for you. The bands are presented in the order I've listed above, which makes for some strange shifts at times (Baroness > Iron & Wine? Yeah) but overall it flows somewhat well and I've been enjoying the mixes with a critical ear and I think they are worth sharing. There are two because in almost every case I had trouble picking just one song to share. I also made some cover art for your iTunes and iPods.
(These are Megaupload files... If this is going to be a problem then maybe I can be persuaded to use a different server, but I am not splitting them to put on a smaller server. So its either this or Gigasize.)

1. Caspian - Moksha
2. Baroness - Isak
3. Iron & Wine - Innocent Bones
4. Grails - Soft Temple
5. Explosions In The Sky - Catastrophe and the Cure
6. Bongripper - Reefer Sutherland
7. Les Savy Fav - Brace Yourself
8. Brainworms - Heart-Shaped Hickey
9. Rosetta - Lift (Part 3)
10. Cease Upon The Capitol - Tracks 9 and 10
11. Kevin Drew - Farewell To The Pressure Kids
12. Meneguar - Scrape & Pull
13. Grinderman - Get It On
14. Kidcrash - Life Was Real. Vital. Important
15. Mammatus - Pierce The Darkness
16. Souvaris - Nobody is Fine and Everybody Needs a Drink
17. The Sea and Cake - Exact to Me
18. Pinback - Good To Sea
19. Radiohead - Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
20. Minsk - White Wings

1. Caspian - Crawlspace
2. Baroness - The Birthing
3. Iron & Wine - Carousel
4. Grails - Silk Road
5. Explosions In The Sky - The Birth and Death of the Day
6. Bongripper - The People Mover
7. Les Savy Fav - Patty Lee
8. Brainworms - Born With A Beard
9. Rosetta - Lift (Part 1)
10. Cease Upon The Capitol - Tracks 5 and 6
11. Kevin Drew - Back Out On The ...
12. Meneguar - Paint You
13. Grinderman - No Pussy Blues
14. Kidcrash - A Conduit Rather Than A Vault
15. Mammatus - Dragon Of The Deep Part Three (Excellent Swordfight)
16. Souvaris - Hand or Finger
17. The Sea and Cake - Crossing Line
18. Pinback - Barnes
19. Radiohead - 15 Step
20. Minsk - Embers

What shouldve made this list?

21. The National - Boxer

This is the album that should truly have displaced Radiohead. In fact, it deserved to be way higher than #19, but ce'st la vie, I only heard it at the end of the year. Beautiful beautiful stuff. Great words and an awesome voice that isnt too different from a slightly more stable Nick Cave (But we like Nick Cave just the way he is)

22. Bitter End - Climate of Fear

Frankly, this should also be on the list, but I dont think it deserves to displace anything other than the Radiohead album. And yes, this present hardcore masterpiece definitely rules harder than In Rainbows. I also heard this too late from Aversionline (thanks!) and it has pretty much owned my skull whenever I felt like I wanted to karate chop my desk in half... which happens about once a week. Sometimes for anger and most times for the sheer delight of destruction whilst listening to NY styled hardcore.

23. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer

This album is a pop clusterfuck of Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Shuggie Otis and Sgt Peppers-era Beatles, on meth-amphetimines, at a dance club, filled with giant stuffed animal versions of famous people...kind of like that Phil Collins video on MTV, but an enjoyable, strangely attractive version of those terrifying images.

24. Giraffes? Giraffes! - More Skin With Milk-Mouth

Math-rock, what a term. I suppose that what G?G! is, and this is another late entry to the list, but a fine example of what two people can do with a drum and a guitar and some odd time signatures. There are some incredible moments on here, and despite my bias towards giraffes, I really think this album stays afloat on its own merit and leads the pack as far as math-rock goes these days. Unless you consider Russian Cirles math-rock...which I dont... but this notion is really unimportant. More Skin With Milk-Mouth shows a promising band on the rise. Lets hope they get the recognition they deserve this year.

25. Okkervil River - The Stage Hands

This album, yet another late entry, has the particular nagging feeling that I will probably be listening to this album far more as the years go on. Theres is something really mature and unpretentious about the vocal delivery. The lyrics are great and I keep thinking of The Cure, who I always wanted to like more than I do, and somehow I think The Stage Hands fixes whatever may have been missing for me to enjoy that massively recognizable band. Well, I guess that means I'm saying that I like Okkervil River more than The Cure, and I feel okay about that.

What wouldve made the list if it were longer?

Nadja - Radiance of Shadows / Touched / Thaumogenesis
Awesome ambient doominess. Like Godflesh on quaaludes. Yes, that description is incredibly tongue in cheek. It's also entirely true. Three albums in one year, plus a few more an Aiden Baker doesnt seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Maps - We Can Create
Electro-poppiness that I really did not like at first. Somehow it caught me at the right time, and its actually a really good record. Its no my usual style, but when the mood strikes it fits nice.

Lifetime - s/t
Lifetime, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... 1. Background, 2. Tinnitus, 3. Hello Bastards, 4. Jerseys Best Dancers, 5. self-titled.
Switch Background with Hello Bastards and thats my rundown of Lifetime albums from best to least-best.

Kongh - Counting Heartbeats
Disgustingly harsh swedish doom. Very proggy and tribal, also very scary. This is a pretty challenging record due to its song times running past 10 minutes every track, but if youve got the masochism to sit and listen to it all the way through, then you will be rewarded.

Johnnytwentythree - JXXIII
For being the second best rip-off of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, you earn quite a few points in the post-rock camp. (The first rip-off is Yndi Halda, and yes they are very good too, better in fact)

Graf Orlock - Destination Time: Tomorrow
Who doesnt like grind? Well, to bad for you, cuz Graf Orlock (named after the vampire in Nosferatu) is ready to eviscerate you with no remorse. What? You dont like being torn limb from limb? Pussies. (anyone catch the Slayer reference?

Escapado - Initiale
Germany produces its answer to Envy and Daitro and frankly comes out a little in front. Yeah. I know you all get juiced over Envy, they aiite.

Earthless - Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky
I was raised on classic rock. Thank my parents (or blame them, youre choice), but I have never been able to ignore anything that sounds like a time capsule of the 60's and 70's. Well, this isnt really classic rock in any traditional sense. Just two 20 minute mega jams of psyched out nostalgia. The funniest part is the drummer is Mario Rubalcalba - ex pro skateboarder, and ex drummer for (ready, this is a long list) 411, Metroschifter, Clikatat Ikatowi, Thingy, The Blackheart Procession, Pinback, Hot Snakes, Rocket From the Crypt and now Earthless? I dont follow. But I do. If you catch my drift. A+ Mario.

Dungen - Tio Bitar
More psychedelic nostalgia for dat azz.

Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History In Rust
Though not my favorite of their and at times slightly disappointing, History In Rust still has moments of absolute stunning musicianship. Its sort of a new style for them and if they can hone this properly than they'll have a new lease on life.

Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Pretty great return to form for Mascis and Barlow and Murph. At first my favorite song was written by Lou Barlow, but I think Crumble, which is out-n-out J is the clear winner. I came to the Dino Jr. party late, but it occurs to me that a good portion of things I listen to owe their life to Dino Jr. So conisder this my repentance.

The Clientele - God Save the Clientele
Im not a huge brit-pop fan. But these guys just get right in my head. Something soft and subtle for particularly whimsical moments of fleeting joy. I want it to snow when I listen to this. In fact, I want to walk through the snow while listening to this.

What couldnt make the list due to self imposed regulations?

Ampere - First Five Years
As the title states, this is a retrospective of the Amherst bands short career, viewed through the medium of 7"s and EP's and the obligatory demo. While I have had most of these songs, they are presented here with much better mixes and thus listening to the intricacies of Will Killingsworths guitar trickery is just that much more exciting.

Ampere/Daitro Split 7"
As a 7" I can't rightfully put it up against a bunch of full albums. Especially since it would probably beat a lot of them out. I jammed this 7" a ton this summer. The artwork is fantastic and it represents the best of both bands.

Junius - s/t
Another retrospective of sorts. Junius collects their two previous EPs on this disc. Spanning back to 2004, it is clear this band has taken great strides in the post-rock realm. Add to that the amazing vocals and their new EP The Fires of Antediluvia and I think we'll have an obvious shoe in for a best of 08 record. That is of course if they relase a new record. Which they better.

Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today
Was this really released in '07? I mean, what the fuck, Jus? Did you smoke too much pot and forget to release this until the very last minute? Tell me, I want to know, because this album couldve easily fit on the 07 list, but now it might seem awkward to put in on the '08 list. Regardless, Witchcult Today is another band returning to fine form. Jus' vocals are tops on this record and the vintage feel is a nice direction.

Pusher - s/t
I know very little of this. I heard of it through Aversionline and it involves members from National Acrobat, Coliseum and Lords. All incredible Louisville bands. I guess this is a discography of their very short career? I dont know, man, its like 12 minutes long and its the best damn 12 minutes of punk hardcore I have heard in years. But I feel it cant be put on an 07 list of its just a reissue or a disco. Nonetheless, these guys created something fierce and you should do everything to get this.

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
One of the best albums ever made. But its from 1988.

Rain - La Vache Qui Rit
One of the best album ever made. It was recorded in 1986, released in 1990, and re-released this year. One of the best examples of mid 80's Dischord punk. Epic ex and future members in this band.

On The Might Of Princes - Where You Are and Where You Want To Be
Originaly released in 2002, this re-release gives a better mix of some the best emotive songs in recent times. Think Mineral & early Sunny Day Real Estate.

Boris & Merzbow - Rock Dream
An awesome live set of Boris doing some of their best songs, including a 35 minute version of Feedbacker. Everything has subtle touches of electronic schizophrenia spread all over it by fellow countryman Merzbow.

And, the serious letdowns?

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Seriously, WTF? No Cars Go was great though, But it was also written before Funeral.

Battles - Mirrored
I have no idea WHY people are flipping over this. I think it sucks, big time. Are people just that desperate for something different? EP C & B EP were both pretty cool and while I'm sure this is in line with where they were going, its a ride I am happy I got off early.

Bloc Party - Weekend In the City
Terrible. I liked half their last album alot. I like absolutely none of this album.

Interpol - Our Love to Admire
One of my favorite bands, and while this isnt as bad as the rest of the stuff in this section, it is easily and by far their worst record. I cant think of a song I dont love off their previous albums, and I can only think of one or two I really like on this one. Sad.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
I have been immensely into this band for quite sometime, and the last album hinted to me that maybe they had run their course, but then they came out with this and they are even bigger than before, and I'm not yelling "sellout" but I just cant get into any of this album. What happened to you guys?!

Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men
I saw them play with Boris and was pretty psyched at their painful Jesus Lizard lurch and quickly acquired Shallow, their first album. I had high hopes for a new band, and this just didn't deliver for me.

Shellac - Excellent Italian Greyhound
End of Radio is pretty amazing. The rest is forgettable. Then again, I havent really been into Shellac since Terraform.


I spent almost 4 hours making this post. Dayam! its 2.56am. I turned 31 yesterday. Its feels okay.


PS. Thanks to everyone who comes and visits, leaves comments, and starts blogs. You make this all worth it. Special thanks to my blog pals who keep things going on their pages when things fall flat here.


PPS. If you made it this far, either you need help, or I need help.

Francis Noir

Yes, cleverness abound at Zen right now. Frank black is pretty clever. Way more clever than I. Mine is simply the pretense of cleverness.

Anyhow, have you ever listened to the Pixies? If not, we may be able to still talk, and with counseling maybe even look each other in the eye again. Its up to you if I should be embarrassed about listening to the Pixies or if you should be embarrassed about not listening to them, but shit, am I digressing at a fantastic rate or what?

Here, let me level with you. I'm not so in the mood to describe these things or to be too fanciful about how I skirt around such things. I basically have a lot of things I want to share and not so much focus to really describe why they are as awesome as they are, or what particular meaning they held for me at one point or another.

So just trust me on this one. Or the whatever next few posts I get into. I'll try to make some sense of it, but if you've been coming here you know my tastes are eclectic and you know I wouldn't steer you wrong. At least not intentionally.

So, Frank Black was in the Pixies under the pseudonym Black Francis. Along with Kim Deal alot of the Pixies songs were written. Actually, I should rephrase that; Kim wrote songs, Frank wrote songs (otherwise known as Charles Thompson). You can find out all this shit on wikipedia, but essentially the last Pixies album, Trompe Le Monde, was entirely written by Black aka. Frank neƩ Charles....

You following? Well this is a really great follow up to Trompe Le Monde without the rest of the Pixies. Oh, and something about cool lyrics..

"Im just another ten percenter / My mind is like an ocean
My mind is like an ocean / Im hangin in the harbor
Im just driftin letting out the line / Im lettin out the driftin line"

Frankly (no pun intended) my money is all on Czar. But you know. It's in your hands now dear reader.

4 Walls Falling - Culture Shock - Re-post

This record is a fucking classic. You're behind the curve if you're into straightforward hardcore with old school flavor and you dont have this in your collection. Of course thats extremely relative, but then again you didnt come here for my objectivity, you came here for tunes.

Get into it.

4 Walls Falling were a political hardcore band from Richmond, VA. They had a sound that, though metallic, was very rooted in the old-school hardcore style of the 80's. There are times when listening to this cd that I want to make comparisons to mid 80's NYHC like Sick of it All and Youth of Today and other times I want to compare their sound to turn of the decade New Age Records bands like Mouthpiece, Endpoint and Outspoken. All together though, I think they have their own sound. While old-school hardcore doesnt have much gradation in terms of tone or speed 4 Walls have blended a nice amount of metal and melody to offset this fact. Great fast parts, chugging breakdowns, and youth crew vocals all mke it an essential for any fan of the genre. Greed is my favorite song, opening with a sample of Michael Douglas from the movie Wall Street.

Definitely pick this one up. You wont regret it.

Purchase @ Jade Tree Records

Monday, February 11, 2008

Reason to Believe - When Reason Sleeps, Demons Dance (1990) Re-post

I missed the boat on Reason To Believe, until some people started talking about them a ways back, and then again, after the recent Sense Field post. I remember seeing this record around, and I always toyed with the idea of getting it, but I was particulary snobby at times in respects to album artwork. (Only at times though). Sometimes even to band names (not that I have a problem with this name, but i mean, Gorilla Biscuits? come on! best band ever with a ridiculous name....) I digress though.

I guess the main things I'd want to say about this record (and the appended "The Next Door EP") are that, A) Ive been listening the shit out of this, B) Most of these members went on to Sense Field, who were actually not as good, but I still like their first two albums, the self titled and Killed for Less (both released on Revelation Records) mainly because I liked the way Jonathon Bunch sang, I always thought he had a great voice... and one more, C) This does not sound like Sense Field, save for the voice. It is fast, cathartic, uplifting, melodic and catchy as the bubonic plague in the 14th century. Basically, awesome, positive, uplifting hardcore. and I'm kicking myself for not ever picking this up, cuz I wouldve loved this shit in High School. Its got an old school vibe, but theirs way more going on, almost along the lines of some of Bad Religions earlier stuff, or even Dag Nasty, when Dave Smalley was singing for them. Anyway, I'm reliving my youth with this album. Awesome.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Shotmaker / Maximillian Colby (1995)

Shotmaker/Maximillian Colby - Split 12" (Nervous Wreck Kids, 1995)

This is one of the most fantastic records of this music style. Powerful churning, tumultuous hardcore. It represents the best of both bands output and represents the pinnacle of mid-paced chaotic hardcore with a heavy emphasis on moody tension and angular rhythms. These songs have held up so well over a decade later, and while many people can have all of each bands songs on their respective discographies (many other great songs, indeed) this one moment in time deserves to be seen as an integral period of a bigger picture; An unyielding portrait of grinding dynamism.
Shotmaker were from Ontario, Canada and Maximillian Colby came from Virginia, USA.

North: Shotmaker
1. The Game
2. Archaeologist
3. Blocks and Channels
4. Untitled
5. Spark Lights the Friction
6. Newest Sound System

South: Maximillian Colby
1. Last Name
2. What's The Matter River?
3. Shoot Hypotenuse
4. Right Right Left